By Opio Jackson
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Country Representative Johann Siffointe said education was the key to peaceful coexistence since it increases opportunities and promotes the exchange of ideas and dialogue.
The UNHCR South Sudan boss made the statement during the inauguration of Dr John Garang Memorial University Library in Bor on Wednesday. The library was built by UNHCR with support from the donors.
Mr. Siffointe added that UNHCR has contributed to the peaceful coexistence among the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the host community through interventions that target all the causes of conflict in Jonglei State.
“This Library will enable the students to become positive actors to peace and find their own durable solutions. This will be a great achievement for UNHCR as well as our partners,” Mr. Siffointe said.
“We wish that South Sudan will soon realize a lasting peace and back on the journey of national building, development, reconciliation and harmony,” he added.
The UNHCR Country Representative pledged the Agency’s commitment to walk together with South Sudanese in the journey of national building for the fulfillment of UNHCR’s protection mandate which would contribute to lasting peace.
He stressed that “short sharing” of the available resources has always become the basis of conflict between communities, adding that shortage of water supply had been a cause of disputes among communities.
Mr. Siffointe reiterated that with the guidance from the authorities in Bor, UNHCR was able to construct water reservoirsin two areas in Jonglie State.
According to Mr. Siffointe, this was one of the approaches being used by UNHCR to achieve durable solution that leaves no one behind.
“In line with commitment to protection and peaceful coexistence, the UNHCR decided to build a Library for Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology that would benefit both the IDPs and host community alike,” Mr.Siffointe said.
“We are very happy that the university Library will be catered for and accessible to the community at large,” he added.
Speaking at the same occasion in Bor, the Vice-Chancellor of Dr. John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology Prof. Julia Akeer said there was need to fight illiteracy in the country.
According to Prof. Akeer, high illiteracy rate was one of the causes of the conflict in the country. “Without education in South Sudan, we would not stop fighting and if we are all educated we would always be arguing but not fighting,” she said.
Prof. Akeer encouraged girls to pursue their studies to enable them to climb the ladder of leadership. “As a woman in a leadership, once you climb the next ladder you have to pull another lady with you,” she said.
She stressed that a complete University must comprise of students, lecturers and the Library.
“If you don’t have books you will not be able to learn. If you don’t have students or lecturers and that will not be called a university,” Prof. Akeer said.
The Vice-Chancellor hailed UNHCR for its generous contribution for the construction of the university Library which is fully installed with solar energy.